Significant Court Of Appeal Case On Subject Matter Jurisdiction

New York Knickerbockers’ vs. Workers’ Compensation Appeals Board (Macklin), 80 Cal Comp cases 1141, (2nd Appellate District Court of Appeal, 10-1-15).

Employment by a California team during the period of cumulative injury under LC 5500.5 is sufficient to make reasonable applying California Workers’ Compensation law to a professional basketball player, in light of the employment having occurred during that pertinent year (Labor Code §5500.5(a))

The Court of Appeal determined under Labor Code §5500.5(a), liability is limited to employers who employed Macklin during one year immediately preceding the date of injury or the one year preceding the last date of which the employee was employed and the occupation that exposed him to the hazards of the cumulative injury, whichever occurs first. The Court found that the Appeals Board correctly determined the petitioner’s liability predicated on the fact that petitioner was Macklin’s employer during that one year period. As Macklin admittedly was petitioner’s employee for a part of that critical year, Labor Code §5500.5(a) applies allowing subject matter jurisdiction.

The Court found that a dispositive factor in this case, unlike in Johnson (221 Cal App 4th at Page 1130), was that Macklin played for a California team for a portion of the period of the last year of cumulative injury.

Macklin played for the following teams during the last year of the cumulative trauma:

  • August 1981 to June 1983 Atlanta Hawks – (3) California games.
  • June 1983 to December 1983 New York Knicks – applicant played in one game and traveled with the team to California for two other games that he did not pay in but practiced in.
  • September 1984 to October 24, 1984 LA Clippers

The WCAB found personal jurisdiction over the Atlanta Hawks, the New York Knicks and the LA Clippers because they were either a California team or the team engaged in basketball activities within California in the last year of the CT under LC 5500.5.